Championing on-the-go recycling: Coca-Cola’s continued partnership with Merlin Entertainments

Posted On: 
12th July 2019

Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners GB, discusses the partnered companies’ recent efforts to increase recycling in Great Britain

Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners will continue their partnership with Merlin Entertainments, to encourage on-the-go recycling in consumers

At Coca-Cola European Partners, we’re committed to using our business as a force for good, supporting the communities we operate in and building a better future for people and planet. We also understand the importance of collaborating with others within and across our industry to help deliver the robust circular economy we envision for Great Britain today. For these reasons, I am pleased to announce that Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners will continue their partnership with Merlin Entertainments, to encourage on-the-go recycling in consumers.

The initiative involves reverse vending machines; devices that accept empty beverage containers in return for some value for the consumer. These machines have helped in the delivery of Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) in countries with such schemes, but rather than returning a small amount of money to the consumer – which is the case in a full DRS – we’ve partnered with Merlin to offer 50% off entry at Merlin Entertainments in exchange for recycling an empty plastic bottle. Whilst this isn’t how we would see a full DRS working this is an exciting initiative to raise awareness of the importance of recycling with consumers and to continue to test some of the technical elements of how to best use Reverse Vending Machines.

Launching from 8th July 2019, the 23 machines will be available at leading UK Merlin attractions, including Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort and the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort. In a further push to reduce packaging waste, Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine will also be available at Thorpe Park Resort, offering consumers the chance to pre-load money onto an RFID chip in a refillable vessel –helping consumers who want the convenience of prepaying for all their drinks and use smart reusable packaging.

Following popular demand, the reverse vending machines have also rolled out to additional new sites this year, including SEA LIFE Blackpool, SEA LIFE London and Warwick Castle Resort – as we continue to engage the public in more sustainable behaviours. We’re committed to make on-the-go recycling easier for consumers and lead the way towards a robust circular economy in Great Britain.

This forms an important part of our sustainable packaging strategy - This is Forward – which outlines our bold ambition to ensure 100% of our packaging can be collected, reused or recycled – and where none ends up as litter in our streets, parks or oceans. Our continued partnership with Merlin Entertainments forms an important part of this, as we seek to reward and recognise people for recycling their used plastic bottles – and encourage others who may not be actively recycling to follow suit.